Business as usual…

In his article, Ghosts in the Machine: Publication Planning in the Medical Sciences, Sismondo attempts to explore the relationship of publication planners to the pharmaceutical industry. Their job is to assist pharmaceutical companies in their research and most importantly: the writing of their journal articles (which becomes the underlying motivation of the title).  He analyzes the relationship by focusing on a convention in which publication planners are recruited and informed about this particular industry. He maintains throughout the article, that marketing plays a key role in the goals of these planners.

This led me to an insight on the significance of marketing in the medical scientific community. It is clear that pharmaceutical companies as well as the publication companies have a specific agenda to raise their profits, and inevitably the only way to do this is through marketing their particular drug(s) (p. 179). While the idea of publication planners may raise certain suspicions on validity and integrity of research, I wonder if there would be an equally valid alternative. Pharmaceutical companies are trying to sell drugs, and thus the only way to market their drugs is to use science to persuade and convince consumers. Therefore, they must use the services that are able to cater to this particular field. Take for example the Axe commercials where women become instantly drawn to the male wearing the cologne. It is obviously not true, but nevertheless an effective marketing tool used to persuade its customers. I feel that the customers should play a more active role in determining the validity of pharmaceutical drugs. Pharmaceutical companies are profit driven organizations and should therefore be held under the same scrutiny of all other business corporations. 

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